By Mark Abrams
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philabundance has managed to close the funding gap and will move forward on its plan to acquire a long-vacant supermarket in Chester and re-open it as a non-profit food center.
Philabundance has had its eye on the building for some time and has been working to raise $4.5-million to try to buy it and open it up as a grocery store that will also serve as a food center (see related story).
Bill Clark, executive director of Philabundance says, the money’s not all there yet, but there’s enough to advance the project. “We have been successful enough that we’re about to purchase the building that we intend to build out (at) Ninth and Trainer. We’re going to be moving forward to get the building.”
He says the hope is to have the market open for business by late fall. “Ironically, the building we’re buying was the last operating supermarket in Chester that went dark 10 years ago.”
Clark says it wouldn’t have been possible without an extra push from Congressman Bob Brady. Brady decided to employ some good will in pulling together federal help and local partners to commit funds. “We got a lot of partners and we’re able to acquire the building and without question I believe that we get enough resources to be able to put a hybrid Philabundance supermarket right in the city of Chester where it’s well deserved and well needed.”
Brady says he met recently with the federal agriculture secretary to solicit his help. “He assigned a deputy to us and he assured us that he will do everything he can to make sure that this will definitely become a reality.”